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Politics in Russia. Political Parties and Elections. Important political change. Democratization of political system introduction of competitive elections shift from a single-party system to a multiparty system. Transformation of party system.

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politics in russia

Politics in Russia

Political Parties and Elections

important political change
Important political change
  • Democratization of political system
    • introduction of competitive elections
    • shift from a single-party system to a multiparty system
transformation of party system
Transformation of party system
  • Communist Party of Soviet Union used to dominate state and social institutions
    • no competition for political office
    • no mechanism to ensure accountability
    • party authority couldn’t be openly questioned
  • confusing array of political organizations have run candidates in elections since ’93
new political parties
New political parties
  • government efforts at tightening the conditions for party formation and registration
    • effect on small parties
    • effect on party coalitions
  • suppress democratic representation?
  • bring order to a chaotic and fragmented party structure?
russian political parties
Russian political parties
  • generally form around a prominent individual
  • are generally associated with prominent political figures
    • increased political fragmentation
  • do not have a firm social base or stable constituency
  • a major cleavage: economic policy
4 main categories of parties
4 main categories of parties
  • reformist parties
    • democracy and market
  • centrist parties
    • “parties of power”
  • communist parties
    • Communist Party of the Russian Federation
  • nationalist parties
    • Liberal Democratic Party of Russia
reformist parties
Reformist parties
  • liberal democracy
    • dismantle political framework of socialism
    • guarantee individual freedom
    • rule of law
  • market economy
    • open and free market
    • property rights
  • Union of Right Forces and Yabloko
communist party of the r f9
Communist Party of the R.F.
  • Major successor party to the CPSU
    • oppose radical market reforms
    • oppose privatization programs
    • oppose Western influence
  • most party-like of all parties
    • substantial organizational base
    • well-defined electoral following
    • large (but old) membership (~ 500,000)
communist party of the r f10
Communist Party of the R.F.
  • CPRF
    • rather stable electoral share
    • but unlikely to win parliamentary majority or presidency
  • CPRF leader Zyuganov
    • 1996 and 2000 presidential elections
yeltsin campaign in 1996
Yeltsin campaign in 1996
  • Public opinion polls
    • 24% supported Zyuganov
    • 8% supported Yeltsin
economic reforms
Economic reforms
  • Macro-economic stabilization
    • structural adjustment
      • cut state spending
      • increase taxation
      • end price controls
      • open trade
    • “shock therapy”
      • all “shock” but no “therapy”
  • Privatization
centrist parties a paradox
Centrist parties: a paradox
  • Surveys indicate that voters would favor policies and values at the political center
    • e.g. social democratic party
  • but no one has succeeded in creating a major, lasting centrist party
    • social welfare state
    • political freedoms
    • private property rights
centrist parties of power
Centrist “parties of power”
  • Our Home is Russia (1995 - )
    • pro-government
    • centrist
    • moderately reformist
    • then Prime Minister headed it
    • never succeeded in defining a clear program
    • became a coalition of officeholders
unity united russia
Unity (“United Russia”)
  • Formed 3 months before 1999 election
  • active assistance from
    • then President Yeltsin
    • then Prime Minister Vladimir Putin
  • received 23.3% of the vote in 1999
power transition in 1999 2000
Power transition in 1999-2000
  • State Duma tried to impeach President Yeltsin but didn’t gather enough votes
  • Yeltsin announced that he would resign
  • Presidential election
  • 2000-03-06
  • Vladimir Putin
parties of power
“parties of power”
  • Parties depend on official support
  • avoid building independent bases of organizational support
  • policy positions are vague
  • vanish when the major sponsors lose power
  • Unity would disintegrate if President Putin were to lose power or popular support
electoral rules for state duma
Electoral rules for State Duma
  • Similar to Germany’s hybrid system
  • each voter has 2 votes
    • 1 for a candidate for that district’s seat
    • 1 for a registered party on the party list
  • half of Duma (225 seats) elected from single-member districts
  • half of Duma (225 seats) selected by parties according to vote share (> 5%)
pro government majority
Pro-government majority
  • President Putin and his government could generally count on majority support
  • pro-government deputies depend on the Kremlin for political support
  • little effect on the makeup of government
    • administrators with no partisan affiliation
    • almost none were drawn from parliament
putin and stability
Putin and Stability
  • Popular and effective politician
  • Has strengthened institutions despite lingering social economic problems
  • Has built up the power of the Kremlin and other parts of the central government
  • Has undermined aspects of democracy
  • without removing basic freedoms or eliminating competitive elections.